Numbers can tell us a lot and for good reason. You have probably heard the saying “the numbers don’t lie”, but is that always true? It would be incorrect for me to say that numbers can lie. The math world is made of rules. As long as the rules are followed, everything works out right. A problem is created when you rely too much on the numbers. As factual as the numbers are, they do not tell the whole story.
If there is one unknown that was not accounted for, the results can be grossly incorrect. How do we ensure we have all the unknowns? First, you need to figure out how many unknowns there are. How many unknowns impact our lives daily, monthly, and yearly? The amount is overwhelming and impossible to account for (as far as I know). Because of this, numbers are best used as a reference point of where to look to see what they are telling us. For an example, let’s use debt.
Many of us purchase things with the idea that we can afford the payments. This is usually true except when we don’t account for an unknown. Have you ever felt like you were punched in the gut when your car broke down and the cost to fix it was $1,000? I know I sure have. The broken car is a variable you forgot to factor in. Did you have the $1,000 sitting around to pay for it, or did you use a credit card?
Three months later in the middle of the summer, your air conditioner breaks. At a cost of $3,500. Do you have the money? For most people, they do not have $3,500 sitting around and they turn to the trusty credit card. At this point, you are probably starting to feel a financial squeeze. On top of that, you are afraid something expensive is about to happen because it seems everything happens in threes. One more expensive blow and you are in trouble. How could this happen when the numbers said I could afford it? The unknowns were not factored in.
With finances, and in life, the plans we make are contingent on the knowns remaining the same. One little change can have massive effects on the overall plan. A solid foundation is important to pivot from when adjustments need to be made. Debt does not always provide a solid footing, even though the numbers can say it does.
A good plan can provide a solid footing to pivot from. You will never factor in all the unknowns. Wise decisions combat unknowns and a sustainable Pace ensures crossing your finish line. Here is a free goals calculator that you can use to start thinking about your plan. We are here to help you develop a Wise Pace. This is your life and we can be the supporting cast.